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Raiders of the Lost Art

Public funding for the arts will be the first casualty of tough financial times in Indianapolis.

City-County Council President Bob Cockrum told me Tuesday that the current funding for the art $1.5 million will be phased out by $500,000 a year over the next three years.  Cockrum said with tough times it’s not fair to have the property taxpayers pay for art programs. 

He told the local Arts Council that the city would do what it could to help the arts raise money but funding will no longer come from the city which faces a $26 million budget shortfall this year.

  • Moneyguy

    Can you say Lilly Foundation! 1.5 million is a drop in the bucket!

  • Think Again

    It was a noble gesture to fund the arts when things were, uh, a little better. Now, the budget is in the tank. It’s fair to cut it way back.

    I’d prefer a nominal amount stay in the budget, just to remind us what we need to do when times are better.

    Every major metro city above us in the population rankings, requires public art as a part of all new development. In some cities, it’s a huge requirement. A small requirement here, for developers to display some kind of art, might be in order.

    It’d be even better if all the damned concrete and asphalt could be augmented voluntarily with some public art. But most of the developers I know are trying to get over on the system, shove through massive unwarranted developments, and push all the buttons via the Judy Conleys of the world.

    It’d be nice to see all of them take on public art, even in a small way, as a Righit of Citizenship.

    Hope springs eternal.

  • retired ipd

    take all of it out of the budget, if the people want to support art , they can donate. not take our hard earned money away by force.

  • Cut the Colts instead

    and how much do the Colts (and Pacers) either get directly in simple cash, or indirectly via tax supported bonds, police, etc. 1.5 million is chump change and show how little we think of qualityof life issues…..just get me a $10 beer please

  • Dave

    My dear wife makes her living as an artist and has said for years that NO money should be taken from taxpayers for art, which she maintains is market driven. “I don’t need the government to tell me what art is,” she often says. As I write this she suggests that government could best create an environment for the arts by meeting its primary responsibility; public safety.

  • Indiana Barrister

    kstrunk – please don’t use a different name everytime you post (like “Cut the Colts instead”) – read this: http://www.indianabarrister.com/how_to_leave_a_comment

  • Taxpayer 834512

    I would LOVE to be living fat enough to spend taxpayer money on the arts. Since we can’t go back into the time machine of being the global economic titan, how about we adjust our fiscal philosophy on corporate tax loopholes, idealistic foreign policy, and (the big boy) entitlements/benefits? I’d much rather see Penrod continue than have to fund another ESL library because we dare not have the efficiency of English as a national language.

  • http://www.hoosiersforfairtaxation.com Melyssa

    I’ve never liked being forced to fund their art choices. I’ve always supported local arts and artists and anyone who has been to my home will affirm it is stuffed with local art. However, you don’t see the IMA sucking off the city tit. Their funding is private, not tax money.
    One of my dear friends, who owns an art gallery and works very hard, used to bitch that you never saw any of the people from the Arts Council at art openings. She said it was all very hypocritical and no more than a clique that is very caught up in their own power and their control of how your money is spent.

  • Think Again

    Public art is not so much, the moeny paid to artists. Although it’s not free.

    Public art is about putting artworks around the city for all to enjoy and appreciate.

    I agree that in tough times, it needs cut way back.

    ESL in libraries–what the hell have you got against that? English may be our unofficial national language, but there are plenty of other languages spoken here. If some patrons who speak broken English can get better use of the library, so be it.

    Xenophobia is never pretty.

  • Shorebreak

    Funding arts with tax dollars has been a no-no since day one. If the economy was soaring I wouldn’t want a single dime of my money being forced away from me (at risk of imprisonment, property loss etc.) in order to fund some other individuals artistic preferences. I call it theft by legislation.
    I’ve always held the belief that good government is the backbone of a sound, stable, and viable community, state, and nation. When any government, whether local or national, shifts into a mode where it is serving as a tool to establish and broaden it’s own purpose, the government is no longer serving the people – it’s serving itself and the people who control it. At a national level, that’s why Jefferson said the following:
    “God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty.”
    Clearly the same advice applies at the state and local levels. Open up any local newspaper and you’ll see that nearly every municipality in the country is facing a similar crisis. Chicago, Seattle, the wealthiest towns in the Hamptons, etc. During good times our local governments heaped tax upon tax for government mandated (rather than citizen mandated) special interests, organizations, studies, expansions, programs, committees, and thousands of other methods and motivations for taking our money and spend it on something that was of no benefit to the community at large. Some things have been good but too many have been frivolous or have been directed towards individual groups and special interests.
    I recommend cutting anything and everything that’s non-essential. I also recommend cutting the remaining $1 million from the art budget next year in a single lump, rather than over two more years. If arts patrons can afford to pony up the additional funds, then great. If not, the market doesn’t exist right now to support it and we should simply let it go. The same thing applies to any other budgetted items. All non-essentials go away.

  • Jerry

    @Cut the Colts instead – how much money do the Colts and Pacers bring in to businesses and the city . . . versus the Arts? I may be alone, but watching our home teams DOES improve my “quality of life.” As a former professional musician, I say let private businesses and donors pay 100% for the arts.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    Neither is fiscal destitution, TA. Excuse the heck out of me if I’m a tad frustrated at the relatively opulent lower school ESL library versus gym being down to once a week. We can’t even focus on a single language for signs and forms!? The ‘Economist’ used to routinely throw the “xenophobic” grenade as well. Last article I read re U.S. immigration, they’ve backed-off and even acknowledge dire impact on schools, medical, and prison infrastructure. The EU just enacted something that’s to transitionally tackle their own immigration problems. I’ll be sure to explain to the Mexican family next door here on a temporary “green card” that we dare not let the kids play together, or celebrate their anniversary, I might exhibit my “fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners”.

  • Think Again

    Wow, taxpayer…someone must’ve really peed in your cereal.

    How about the illegal Asian folks three doors down from me, who started with three persons, and now run a virtual factory out of their 2-BR bungalow?

    Or the Russian Jews two blocks away, who cower in fear of the INS agents?

    You often resort to the Mexican card when discussing this vastly complicated issue. It’s not that simple.

  • Greg

    Time to really reflect, and I do mean really reflect, on the difference between the so called “public services” that we want, versus what we need. We have, as other posts have outlined, reached a point where it is not possible to continue forward with all programs. This is going to take real leadership, not politicians. Focus, focus, focus. Fewer funded programs, but fully fund those that are needed (when looking at the totality of our community, not a subset. And one of the subsets that I reference is the well to do who benefit from getting funds for their pet programs. As someone has said often on these blogs…..follow the money.

  • http://www.hoosiers.for.fair.taxation.com Melyssa

    Get ready kids. You are about to hear crying, whining, and screaming unlike you’ve ever heard as Ballard pulls the suckers from the taxpayer tit.
    However, by definition cultural arts is not something created artifically by a council. By definition culture is organic.
    Our REAL cultural arts in Indianapolis is privately funded. Some of the best art that’s ever happened in this city has been done by co-op groups of artists without budgets. Any of you remember when Indy’s arts scene was the block between the Chatterbox and the Old Point and the rest of Mass Ave was in shambles?

  • Taxpayer 834512

    TA- you’re not shy about resorting to the “xenophobic” card yourself. It’s indeed a complex issue & I’ve had it with the xenophobic, racist, hater, and sexist cards. You’re way past stereotyping as “goosestepper” for Democrats. Can the rest of us get the same treatment? It would be nice to imagine that the necessity of the ESL library is due to the massive influx of Russians and Asians in the area. Walking through the school and finding out the demographics of the assisted lunch program tells a different tale. Again, the whole issue would be turned on it’s head if we were overrun by accountants, lawyers, & anesthesiologists. Wonder who would and wouldn’t have objections then?

  • Robert-NW Side

    1. Place non-violent criminals in stocks downtown.
    2. Public caning for repeat offenders – 5 lashes.
    3. Public caning for violent crimes, plus very hard labor in tent prison – a la Arizona.
    4. OBEY our Indiana Constitution; institute open-carry statutes in Indiana. No ‘permit’ needed to open-carry. Other States have done this, and blood is NOT running in the streets.
    4a. Divert wasted (non-essential) tax dollars to firearms training modeled on what is provided at Front Sight. Not only teach law and force-continuum, but defensive tactics. This should satisfy the wrist-wringers and hanky-stompers out there.

    It is very expensive to attend schools such as Front Sight — $1000 to attend a one-day handgun course. A good use of tax dollars would be to ensure that our armed Citizens are well-versed in the legal realities of gun ownership and carry. Training in ‘shoot-don’t shoot’ situations is a worthy cause!

  • Think Again

    Wow, Taxpayer. Never bene called a Xenophobe before. Somehow, when you do it, it doesn’t hurt, because the logic you’re using is so faulty.

    You’re interesting, and entertaining. You don’t let facts get in your way.

    You’re resorting to a more-flowery version of my kids’ peschool rants. When you don’t have facts, simply yell:
    “nanna nanna boo boo.”

  • Taxpayer 834512

    TA- I respect & usually enjoy your opinion on the various topics. I’ve been contrary and supportive, as have you. I disagree that being overrun by massive amounts of low-income, benefits-needy workers is going to sustainable (as it’s doing now economically), even if they were orange and from Neptune. My ESL frustration is a subset of that. I’m not gathering all the “source material” from magazines, interviews, newspapers, etc., to buttress my point and disprove “my logic is so faulty”. If it’s a gut belief or just simpler to label people like me as xenophoic, racist, whatever, knock yourself out. Myself, I respect your mind and would rather discuss it over a beer.

  • Taxpayer 834512

    ..or rather my bottle of formula.

  • Bart Flies